Strijk fires in memory of late teammate
Andrew Strijk. Pic: WA News

Andrew Strijk revealed the spirit of former player Michael Mascoulis inspired West Perth to break their duck this season and get their premiership defence back on track.

Steve and Helen Mascoulis, the parents of the former West Perth player who died in a car crash last year, were guests at Arena Joondalup on Saturday when the Falcons saw off the previously-unbeaten Perth in a contest marked by considerable endeavour, but a host of unforced errors.

"Mas was a beauty," Strijk told the Mascoulises and West Perth members after the 15.13 (103) to 13.7 (85) win.

"We were playing for him and he was out there with us."

Following the pre-match minute's silence for the young Victorian who remained with the Falcons last year after being de-listed by West Coast, Strijk was one of the few players on either team to use the ball with sufficient efficiency to damage the opposition.

His precise kicking and ability to put himself in dangerous positions was a critical element in his team's 18-point success.

Released from his usual role as a sweeping defender, Strijk drifted forward often enough to kick three goals and vie with Perth's clearance machine Dene White for best-on-ground honours.

Strijk's first major helped West Perth get off to a flyer in the opening minutes, his second was a 60m roost to regain the lead in the second term and his third was the most timely of them all.

It came 24 minutes into the last quarter and ended any prospect of Perth pinching the match after the lead had changed 12 times during the dour struggle.

The scoreboard was tight all afternoon, but West Perth coach Bill Monaghan said his team should have guaranteed the result much earlier given it produced 54 to 33 inside-50 entries and had 11 more clearances.

"We have struggled offensively for the first few weeks though defensively we have been pretty sound," Monaghan said.

"From the inside 50s we should have kicked another four or five goals. We have been working hard to get the balance right between attack and defence."

Perth had some positives. Captain Paul Bevan tried to spark his team with a four-goal effort in attack, brothers Jarryd and Cale Morton had a strong impact and White is playing the best football of his eight-year career.

The West Australian

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